Hidden Magic in Disney World

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Tiers at Disney Animal Kingdom? A Capacity Analysis.

Based on the chart below, it looks like Disney Animal Kingdom after Pandora opens will still have less High Quality Ride Capacity than Hollywood Studios.  If Animal Kingdom sees a spike in their attendance and there will be a high demand for the new rides (Avatar: Flight of Passage & Na’vi River River Journey), then it seems that tiers are inevitable.

Magic Kingdom (No Tiers)

Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios (Tiers)

Disney Animal Kingdom – After Pandora Opens (Tiers?)

Magic Kingdom Epcot Hollywood Studios Disney Animal Kingdom
Average Attendance 60000 40000 35000 35000
High Attendance 90000 60000 55000 60000
Total FP+ Capacity 249165 108017 112728 105475
High Quality FP+ Capacity 149500 44513 65922 62860
Average Quality FP+ Capacity 99665 63504 46806 42615
% of Quality FP+ Capacity 0.60 0.41 0.58 0.60
# FP+ per Average Attendance 4.15 2.70 3.22 3.01
# FP+ per High Attendance 2.77 1.80 2.05 1.76
# High Quality FP+ per High Attendance 1.66 0.74 1.20 1.05

Bavaria the First Disneyland?

It looks like King Ludwig II of Bavaria created the Disney experience before Walt stumbled on to it.  Ludwig created a Fantasyland based on the works of Richard Wagner in the Alps of Bavaria.  The Neuschwanstein castle was completely designed to bring the operas come alive.  One of the rooms of the castle was a replica of a cave including Stalactites.  He wanted an entire floor designed in the Moorish tradition.  At the Linderhof Palace he recreated the Blue Grotto and built a moat that included Swan Boats from the Swan King story.  He loved the concept of World Fairs and purchased some of the items from fairs that he attended.

For his work in bringing fantasy to life, a group of his government had him declared insane and then promptly had him drowned in a lake along with his doctor.

Walt Disney clearly borrowed a lot of his ideas and took the concept much further.  Disney also had a much better fate.

Also, the medieval city of Rothenberg is clearly the model for the Germany Pavilion in Epoct.  This little Bavarian tourist town has all the elements of the Epcot version.










St. George and the Dragon


Christmas Store




Beer Hall and Hotel outside of Rothenberg

Disney Buy Chicago?

I was hoping to avoid the My Magic +, but ran into this at the Art Institute of Chicago. 😄


Siemens VIP Guest Center. 

Siemens sponsors the best evening show – Illuminations. They have an interesting headquarters tucked away inside Spaceship Earth.  

The secret door 

Choose the floor color that you like. 

VIP ride admittance from the Guest Center. 

FP+ return lines…crazy

This blows my mind.  That is the fast pass return line. It fills the queue, winds out the door, down the sidewalk, out of Pixar Place.  They need to reconfigure all the queues to accommodate the new system.  Maybe they should flip flop, there weren’t as many people in the standby line. It took about 25 minutes to get through the Fast Pass line.  Not really fast.   

Magic Band for Disneyland? 


Fastpass+ and Magic Band Experience October 2013

After reading about the Fastpass+ experience for 10 months, I was able to test it myself for the Food and Wine festival in October 2013.  There has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding the magicband and all of its powers.  The biggest misconception about the device is that it has been designed to make the customer’s life easier.  This may happen for a large number of people, but that is not the reason.  I was traveling with a savvy group of people, and we could appreciate the marketing gold mine the magicbands bring and also easily identified the irritating aspects we will have to get used to managing.  

Benefits that everybody will like (even with the tradeoffs):  

  • getting to the park in afternoon and having three fastpasses in hand for popular rides.  We showed up to Epcot on arrival day at 7:00 pm, and we were still able to ride Soarin and TestTrack with FP+.  
  • not having to run all over the parks to collect fastpasses, we scheduled them from the room before we left. 
  • the magicbands were a fun option to use to access the World of Disney. 
  • the photopass option connected the magicband was very effective and seemed easier and more fun. 
  • at some point, the interactive queue and ride elements will be fun.  We could see the  monitors in It’s a Small World that are primed to send us our own personal goodbye once everyone is on the band and everything goes live. 

Obvious Marketing Aspects:

  • We can see that we are going to be hit with advertisements
  • People are going to be glued to their phones to follow their plans
  • Fastpass+ reservations are going to be used by Disney to move people around parks and point them to specific parks
  • It will be easier to spend money 
  • Disney will be able to track our every move and use the data for targeted advertising.

Obvious Drawbacks in the future:

  • We could already see that shortages of Fastpasses were occurring.  Fastpasses will need to be grabbed early for some of the big rides.  
  • We can see a time and fully expect to have pay for extra fastpasses in the future.
  • Only having a limited amount of fastpasses does cause problems.  Going to the Magic Kingdom is a great example.  We used priority viewing for Wishes leaving us only two FP+ for the entire day.  If you use another one on Enchanted Tales with Belle (the only way I would visit that attraction), that leaves 1 for Splash Mountain, Big Thunder, Peter Pan, Big Thunder, Mine Train Ride (someday), and even Jungle Cruise.  
  • It does take longer to get into the Fastpass line with the bands than having a castmember simply collect a paper pass.  The technology is not forgiving either.  IF your Mickey Head turns blue and you lose a scheduled fastpass based on technology, I would be angry.  This happened to me on the Great Movie Ride (because it was testing time period, I was still let in.  But I had to deal with the castmembers again at the second check point).  
  • It is frustrating not being able to hop from park to park with fastpasses. 
  • The website/app interface is terribly unreliable and clunky.  Hopefully this will get better.

Overall, my travel group loved the magicbands for the reasons listed above, but we can see how this will lose it shine when everyone is using the system and fastpass+ become more difficult to obtain.  

What everyone wants is to be able to grab fastpasses every two hours like before, but schedule a specific time rather than be given a random time.  This would save the running around the parks and also provide the flexibility people want.  But this is not what has been planned.  

Best plan of attack for the most rides in a day using only three fastpasses:

  1. At Magic Kingdom – skip the parades and fireworks and take advantage of the very short lines at that time.  NEVER schedule a fastpass during a parade or fireworks at any park. 
  2. At Animal Kingdom – arrive after 2:00 pm and take advantage of walk on rides even in peak times.  
  3. I have no suggestions for Epcot or Hollywood Studios.  I can tell you this, the wait times are never as long as posted at Hollywood Studios – no idea why at that park on such a regular basis. 

Things are a changing at Walt Disney World.  I embrace change.  But this Fastpass+ component of MyMagic+ is going to downgrade the experience for regular visitors, while helping those newcomers.  Luckily for me, I only go to hang out with my friends and family now, and I don’t need to ride the attractions as much as I used to.  Some people are going to fall in love with the magicband, and others will lament the loss of their freedom. 

Random FP+ Screen

This is a random screen providing insight into the new FP+. This isn’t live yet.